It is a decade since DragonForce had the world at their feet: ‘Through The Fire And The Flames’ was the flagship track of the Guitar Hero series, and third album Inhuman Rampage had perfected their unique maelstrom of breakneck melody. The band was tipped to smash the glass ceiling to ultra-mega-rock-stardom. Continue reading →
Shredding power metal kings DragonForce have detailed the release of their next album, Reaching Into Infinity will be released via Metal Blade Records (USA) and earMUSIC (Europe) on May 19th. Continue reading →
Otaku. That’s a word über geeks and nerdtastic Japanese people totally embrace. It’s fully giving yourself over to cosplay, manga, miniatures, movies, music, etc. It’s a lifestyle, not a passing fancy. The rise of BABYMETAL is a metalhead’s otaku. Outside of Japan the idea of super cute doll baby clad teenagers with adorable voices singing over metal music of different genres is hard to wrap your head around. It seems a lot of the world adhere to strict boxes music must fit neatly inside. Otaku. BABYMETAL are the kuidaore of music; rock until you drop.
That’s the allure of BABYMETAL, they are unapologetically having a wonderful time presenting genre bending music. It’s nothing new in Japan. But, it is jaw dropping to those not used to enjoying music for the pure sake of it being fun and lively. Metal Resistance (earMusic) is BABYMETAL’s second studio album. Metal Resistance is gobsmackingly infectious and fun. Back is the blend of sunny “girly” vocals atop heavy metal, prog metal, speed metal, and Viking metal riffage. Hate all you want, but the new album debuted at number 39 on the USA Billboard 200 chart. BABYMETAL shifted 12, 240 physical copies of Metal Resistance in the United States alone. A Japanese band hasn’t done debuted in the top 40 since 1963.
Metal Resistance opens strong with ‘Road to Resistance’. It’s a plethora of wailing guitars and frenetic drumming. It’s a song you’d expect from Teutonic or Viking bands from Europe or Scandinavia. ‘Karate’ vacillates between metal and J-Pop. It’s got the head banging riffs that suck you in and the cheesy pop verses. ‘Karate’ is the best of both worlds. ‘Awadama Fever’ is for the video game junkies among us. It’s fast paced and slightly psychotic. And all the while, the sweet dulcet voices of Suzuka Nakamoto, Yui Mizuno, and Moa Kikuchi lilt through. ‘Tells of the Destinies’ has an ELP feel. The guitar solos are straight from the 70s and I had to double-check that I was still listening to a 2016 album. I had to scrape my jaw off the floor at the technical wizardry of Herman Li and Sam Totman. This guitar duo is astounding. BABYMETAL’s Metal Resistance is for those music lovers with an open mind who don’t mind their music both spicy and sweet at the same time.
BABYMETAL is streaming the bonus tracks on the re-release of their 2014 self titled album – “Road of Resistance” and “Gimme Chocolate!!” (Live at O2 Academy Brixton, London), out via RAL/Sony Music Entertainment in the US on June 16, 2015 physically (digital version now available).
Stream “Road of Resistance,” featuring Sam Totman and Herman Li of Dragonforce
Stream “Gimme Chocolate!!” (Live at O2 Academy Brixton, London)” below.
Watch the music video for “Road of Resistance” below.
The band will be appearing on these select tour stops:
May 16: Rock of the Range – Columbus, OH
May 29: ROCKAVARIA – Munich (DE)
May 30: ROCK IM REVIER – Gelsenkirchen (DE)
Jun 01: La Laiterie – Strasbourg (FR)
Jun 03: X-TRA – Zurich (SI)
Jun 05: Estragon Club – Bologna (IT)
Jun 06: ROCK IN VIENNA – Vienna (AT)
Jun 21: Makuhari Messe – Chiba (JP)
Doki Doki ☆ Morning
Uki Uki ★ Midnight
Catch me if you can
Rondo of Nightmare
Ijime, Dame, Zettai
*Road of Resistance
*Gimme Chocolate!!-(Live at O2 Academy Brixton, London)
Japanese pop-metal outfit Babymetal will their DVD/Blu-Ray Live At Budokhan: Red Night & Black Night Apocalypse on January 7, 2015. A trailer for the DVD can be viewed here.
The DVD set consists of the band’s Nippon Budokhan performances from March 2014, when the three Babymetal singers/performers became the youngest artists to ever appear at the famed venue.
Live At Budokan: Red Night & Black Night Apocalypse will be made available in three formats: a DVD/Blu-ray box featuring both Nippon Budokan concerts (with the first dubbed “Red Night” and second “Black Night”); a CD titled Live At Budokan: Red Night containing an audio recording of the first Budokan show (the initial pressing of the CD will include the code to digitally download the new song “The One”, which is a collaboration between BABYMETAL’s production team and guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman of British epic power metallers DRAGONFORCE); and a Limited Box exclusive to the BABYMETAL fan club members, “Live At Budokan ‘Budo-Can’ – The One – Limited Box”, a can-shaped package featuring the DVD/Blu-ray of both nights, plus the exclusive CD “Live At Budokan: Black Night” containing the audio recording of the second Budokhan concert.
More bands should take the same “back to basics” approach that DragonForce are applying to the UK leg of the Maximum Overload world tour. Rather than taking in the usual 5 shows in the same 5 major cities, this time around the sextet are taking in 20 smaller venues in 20 towns that don’t get to see many non-local bands.
And the people of Colchester, saved the £30 fare and hour journey to London to take in a show, have responded enthusiastically. The Arts Centre, a converted church that is actually a rather fine venue, is absolutely rammed, and the opening band aren’t even on.
Neonfly, a badly named band who thus far have flown under the radar, take to the stage and are greeted enthusiastically and respond as if they’ve just strolled out as a festival headliner. And it’s lapped up as they run through a selection of AOR influenced widdly Power Metal that veers between Sonata Arctica and UFO. They have all the poses (including some classic Priest choreography), all the solos and in Willy Norton, all the voice with his excellent Michael Kiske meets Tony Martin delivery, and a stage patter that’s part children’s entertainer and part Danny Bowes on happy pills. It’s 1988 again, and no one is complaining as single ‘Gift To Remember’ is met by a healthy number of hands in the air to its rocking riff and massive chorus. While closer ‘Morning Star’ may be a slightly disappointing end to a very enjoyable set, no damage is done as Neonfly have made a lot of new friends tonight, as songs aired from their upcoming new album Strangers In Paradise (Inner Wound) touch on Avantasia. And they have a guitarist called Fred Thunder.
DragonForce have quite the mixed live reputation, but since the arrival of vocalist Marc Hudson they seem to be a different beast these days. Hudson’s first album with the band, The Power Within (Essential/Roadrunner) was their best since debut Valley Of The Damned (Noise/Sanctuary) and the strength and reputation of their live show has grown since his arrival. Heading out on the road with a new album, Maximum Overload (earMUSIC), that picks up where Power… left off, could they continue the upward live curve?
Absolutely. In spades. From the rapid fire power metal, to the guitar duelling of Sam Totman and Hermann Li, who both make the fastest and most complex of guitar techniques seem effortless, to bassist Frédéric Leclercq’s facial comedy show and underpinning rumble and Hudson’s near flawless vocal performance, the ‘Force are on it.
Everything about DragonForce on this tour elicits grins and a feeling of joy, and it’s clear this comes from the stage, aided by Totman’s understated self-deprecation and ongoing banter with Leclercq, the two of them mocking Li, each other, the lyrics (the sword motions in ‘Black Winter Night’ were childishly brilliant), the crowd and themselves throughout while still delivering. It’s great to see. Li, on the other hand, is pulling every Guitar-God shape, including pick-sliding with his tongue, while in between Hudson, the bastard love-child of Chris Jericho and Sebastian Bach, has learnt the master of ceremonies role, padding and filling well in the longer than usual gaps between songs caused by technical issues to Vadim Pruzhanov’s keytar.
Highlights are hard to choose, but a mid-set ‘Seasons’ goes down a storm, a thrashy ‘The Game’ opens up a pit, and ‘Three Hammers’ is a colossal slice of One Direction meets ManOweeN, before all too soon it’s time for the bands best song, ‘Cry Thunder’ which concludes the set proper to rapturous cheers.
Immediate a holler rises for an encore, and the band oblige, camping through their dreadful version of ‘Ring of Fire’, before a vibrant ‘Through The Fire And Flames’ (I’m sure some guy near me was actual air Guitar Hero-ing) and a triumphant ‘Valley Of The Damned’ wrap things up to send a happy crowd spilling out, talking nearly as quickly as the flurrying fingers of Totman and Li about how much they enjoyed the show.
This is what a Power Metal gig should be about, a packed crowd singing along to hymns of cheese and metal with a band turning in a great performance, all creating a symbiotic exuberance. Simply great fun.